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Emory to Showcase Contemporary Indian Playwrights

September 2003
Emory to Showcase Contemporary Indian Playwrights

Theater Emory's upcoming festival ("Contemporary Indian Theater") celebrates over 5000 years of theater tradition in India while demonstrating how that rich and vast heritage speaks to contemporary issues in both the eastern and western cultures. With works by a diverse group of Indian artists whose works span a wide variety of topics, this festival promises to be as entertaining as it is enlightening.

The events at Emory will not be full productions, but simply staged readings of selected scripts by Indian playwrights who have not reached the same heights of international fame as Arundhati Roy or Salman Rushdie, but who nonetheless present an innovative and challenging perspective on contemporary issues. These artists have incredibly diverse backgrounds. Some (such as Mahasweta Devi) live with tribals and write only in their native languages, while others (such as Girish Karnad) usually write in English for a larger audience. All of these artists, however, illustrate the fact that Contemporary Indian Theater is developing its own distinctive voice, one that is at once powerful, intense, and refreshing.


by Girish Karnad

(September 12th at 7 PM)

Girish Karnad has become one of India's brightest rising stars, earning international praise as a playwright, poet, actor, director, critic, and translator. For decades he has written distinct and powerful plays, which use history and mythology to tackle contemporary themes. Hayavadhana, which won the Kamaladevi Award for Best Indian Play of the Year, asks the question: if two bodies switch heads, who is who? Based on the 11th century Indian fable Kathasaritsagara and Thomas Mann's development of this story in The Transposed Heads, Hayavadhana (meaning "the one with a horse's head") is a philosophical exploration layered with comedy, love triangles, talking dolls and much more.


by Manjula Padmanabhan (September 13th at 2 PM)

Winner of the 1997 Onassis Award for Theatre, Harvest is a chilling tale that explores concerns that arise when two very different cultures with great economic disparities collide. Set in 2010, this story of an Indian family seduced by the wealth of the West and the human costs involved ? identity, body, mind, organs ? evokes a cross-cultural and individually motivated version of George Orwell's 1984.

A collage of readings from

the works of Mahesh Dattani, Mahasweta Devi, Vijay Tendulkar, and Alka Roy. (September 13th at 7 PM)

Scenes from various well-known plays from India will give the audience a peek at the work of some of the strongest voices of change in India today. These plays cover different styles, regions, political motivations, movement and poetry to explore contemporary issues in a very Indian way. In addition, scenes will be presented from a play by Alka Roy, an emerging playwright who lives in Atlanta.

All scenes will be read in English at the Theater Lab, Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts, Emory University. Free to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. Seating is extremely limited. Free tickets will be available one hour before each event. For more information, please call (404) 727-5050 or go to www.emory.edu/ARTS/.

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